Huge congratulations to 15-year-old Charlie Jolley of Sheffield Young Writers – one of the 15 winning poets of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2023! And to Isabella Pollard (Rotherham Young Writers) and Merila Gramy (Sheffield Young Writers) who were both highly commended in the competition.
All follow in the footsteps of previous winners from our South Yorkshire groups including Georgie Woodhead, Lauren Hollingsworth Smith & Claire Carlile. More than 6,600 poets aged 11-17 submitted over 15,800 poems into this year’s competition. Young people from 119 countries entered the competition from as far afield as Romania, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and 94 percent of postcodes in the UK.
This year’s poet-judges Jane Yeh and Jonathan Edwards had a difficult job choosing the top 100 winners, with Jonathan saying,
‘The achievement of these poems is enough to drive faith not just in the future but in the present of the art. What a wonderful advert these entries are for the importance of poetry, and – more – how much faith they give us in people, our capacity for empathy and tenderness and how, with nothing more than words, we can make the world go “Wow!”’
Jane said: ‘In judging this award, I was astonished – and humbled – to read so many poems brimming over with inventiveness, ambition, and sheer quality. I was deeply impressed by the artfulness and linguistic sophistication to be found in many of these poems, as well as the engaging, ardent lyricism of their unique voices. I look forward to reading many of these writers’ work in years to come.’
Winners of the award receive a fantastic range of prizes to help develop their writing. The top 15 poets are invited to attend a residential writing course at The Hurst, the Arvon centre in Shropshire; and all 100 winners receive a year’s youth membership of The Poetry Society and a bag full of books donated by generous publishers. The Poetry Society continues to support winners throughout their careers providing publication, performance and development opportunities, and access to a paid internship programme.
If you’re a young poet, sign up to our free Young Poets Network e-newsletter to hear about all The Poetry Society’s opportunities for young poets to submit their work, perform their poems and further their writing skills. Explore Young Poets Network for regular writing challenges, articles about poetry, events, workshops and more.